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Hiro Kanasaki was just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. She was satisfied with her normal life and was even glad it was the way it is. One day, a young man appears and reveals to her that she is the daughter of the richest man in the country. Despite the shock and confusion, Hiro is swept into a life of luxury and splendor. Though it seemed like a dream come true, Hiro soon finds herself stuck in a complicated battle against competing families vying for her family's top position. In addition to all that, Hiro finds herself engaged to a complete stranger! Will Hiro be able to sort out her feelings for this man and save her family from a terrible downfall, or will Hiro give up all that she has to return to the ordinary life she once thought was satisfying?

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13. Chapter XIII

- Hiro -

 

         “What are you doing? Let me go!” Hiro screamed hysterically as the young man carried her to her room in his arms.

         He pushed open the door with a nudge from his foot and entered her room. Approaching her bed, he dropped her into its multitude of covers and stood back, watching in amusement as she tried to scramble to an upright position.

         “Stop carrying me like that!” she shouted, finally sitting correctly on her bed.

         “But why not? It’s fun and you look so cute trying to struggle out of my grasp,” he smiled and fold his arms across his chest.

         Hiro glowered at him and threw several pillows at him before a knock at the door turned the two’s attention to the small figure by the door.

         “Elisabeth!” Hiro shouted, rushing out of the bed and into Elisabeth’s warm embrace.

         “How are you?” she chuckled, soothing the back of Hiro’s head. “Is he treating you alright?”

         “He’s everything but a gentleman,” Hiro replied, her voice muffled from speaking into Elisabeth’s shoulder. “He’s vulgar and rude. Please tell him to go away!”

         She shot an accusing glance at the young man and replied to Hiro, “Aw, he can’t be that bad.”

         Ignoring the comment, Hiro asked, “What are you doing here Elisabeth?”

         She held up a plastic bag and smiled wide, “I’m here to dress you up into your evening gown for tonight!”

        “No,” Hiro gasped, slowly backing away from Elisabeth. “No, no, no! Not another dress! I won’t let you, Elisabeth, nah uh!”

         Hiro backed into the young man and scampered away in fear. His brows rose in question and as it dawned upon him that she wanted to escape his tendencies to lift her into his arms, he smirked at her. She glowered at him but snapped her attention back to Elisabeth as she made her way over to Hiro, pulling the dress from the bag as she went.

         “Oh! I definitely should not have put this gown into a plastic bag! Shame on me for being so stupid! Look at all the crinkles and wrinkles it’s got now!” she muttered to herself woefully.

         “Then it’s alright then! I don’t have to wear a dress to-”

         “Oh no, you don’t!  I promised your father and your fiancé a dress that would make you glow tonight, and that’s what you’re going to get!” Elisabeth exclaimed in defiance, placing her hands on her hips in an adamant pose.

         At the word “fiancé”, Hiro cringed and fell to the floor. She pulled the chair from her desk and dragged it out in front of her, hiding behind it.

         “Please don’t use that word, it’s disgusting,” she sobbed, drawing her knees up to her chest and placing her head on them.

         “What word? Fiancé?”

         Hiro shuddered and curled further into a ball.

         “You want me to carry her into the dressing room?” the young man suggested in a whisper, leaning his head toward Elisabeth.

         “Bring her into the bathroom, if you will,” Elisabeth replied, smiling up at him and making her way to the bathroom to turn on the faucet to get the bath started.

         “With pleasure,” he responded, stepping toward Hiro.

         As he walked over to the huddled form on the floor, Elisabeth shook her head and chuckled. She pushed up the sleeves of her cardigan and stepped into the large bathroom, turning on the faucet and letting it run as she put the dress on a hanger and placed it on the hook on the back of the door.

         Hiro felt a looming presence above her and nearly screamed at the top off her lungs when he picked her up and tossed her playfully into the air. What stopped her from screaming was the sheer fear she felt and the throbbing of her heart that clogged in her throat as he nearly dropped her on purpose.

         As he carried her to the bathroom, she whimpered and he laughed aloud, bending his head close to hers.

         “My little bundle of joy,” he teased, rubbing his nose against hers.

         “Shut up you asshole,” she snapped, turning her face from his, causing him to chuckle again.

         Entering the bathroom, he set her down to the ground and stepped back for Elisabeth to give the first command. Elisabeth directed for Hiro to take her clothes off and to get into the tub. Hiro stamped her foot and crossed her arms against her chest stubbornly.

         “I could take it off for you,” the young man offered jokingly.

         Both girls glared at him and yelled, “Get out!”

         He laughed and doubled over in mirth.

         “Alright alright!” he called out in surrender, wiping a tear from his eyes as he left the room, closing the door behind him.

         “Now that he is gone, would you please do as I say?” Elisabeth begged, clasping her hands together, her face pinched as though she was about to cry.

         Hiro rolled her eyes and complied, “Yes ma’am!”

         She took off her dress and stepped into the warm tub, sitting down and sighing as the water calmed down her nerves and relaxed her. Without waiting for Elisabeth to instruct her, Hiro began to wash her own hair with the products ready at hand. Taking the shampoo and pouring some onto her head, she rubbed and lathered her hair and piled it atop her head in a soapy bun. Turning around, she placed her chin on the edge of the tub and watched as Elisabeth arranged makeup kits and nail polishes on the sink counter.

         “Do I have to wear that stuff?” Hiro asked miserably.

         “It’s only one night, Hiro,” she soothed before adding quietly, “And any other formal event.”

         Hiro heard the last part and sulked further down into the tub. She turned away and leaned back against the tub.

         “If there are any other formal occasions, will you be the one to help me?”

         “Of course! I personally requested Sir Renkai to let me be the one.” Elisabeth smiled and continued, “I enjoy making dresses, especially for important events such as this. The appraisals and scrutinizes other women give each other seems to be most important at times like this. The competition between them is extreme and it’s kind of thrilling to see them all gawk when a really perfect and stunning dress is seen on an equally fabulous person.”

         Hiro thought about it for a moment and felt her heart pounding as she visualized herself as the one people would goggle at as she walked down the spiral stairs. She smiled to herself and sighed in defeat.

         “Alright Elisabeth, let’s see if your dress will really make me sparkle tonight,” she called over her shoulders to Elisabeth, who was poking aimlessly at the powder on the blush pad.

         “Really?” she exclaimed. “Thank you! Oh, thank you so much Hiro!”

         They both laughed and began to work with renewed energy. Hiro washed off her hair and applied conditioner, piling up her hair in the same fashion after she was finished lathering the mixture into her hair. Standing up in the tub, she took the body wash and began to apply the soap on her body. Using her toes, she unplugged the drain and allowed for the water to drain.

         Filling the tub back up after plugging up the drain again, she washed off the excess soap and rinsed clean the conditioner in her hair. Taking a nearby towel, she wrapped her body in it and got out of the tub, wiping her feet on a dry mat next to the tub. She grabbed another towel and wrapped her hair in it after ruffling her hair in an attempt to soak the water from her hair. Bending over, she pulled the plug from the drain and turned on the water to wash the left over soap from the drain after the water had gone.

         “You ready?” Elisabeth asked, looking up from her work with adjusting the dress.

         “I’m all yours, paint and powder away,” Hiro replied sarcastically.

         Elisabeth smirked and went out of the bathroom to place the dress on the bed. Coming back, she wiped her hands on a towel and began to work on Hiro’s hair. She took the towel in her hand and began to rub it furiously to dry the hair. She yanked and smoothed her hair to the side and pulled the towel away so that it drew the hair to one side of her head. Taking the still moist hair, she tied it in a loose ponytail at the top of Hiro’s head.

         Taking the makeup, she lifted her hands to begin applying, but Hiro held up a hand and protested, “No makeup!”

         “Excuse me?” Elisabeth asked, incredulously. “But you said-”

         “That was sarcasm,” Hiro interjected.

         “No makeup? Go natural?”

         Hiro eyes rounded as she pleaded silently in her mind.

         Elisabeth pursed her lips and frowned.

         “Well, you’re skin is flawless enough, but at least put some makeup on!”

         Hiro groaned in exasperation, “Please, no!”

         Elisabeth shook her head firmly and replied, “No! I won’t tolerate a makeup free face.”

         Hiro opened her mouth to protest, but Elisabeth shoved a peppermint into her mouth and told her to stop talking. As she applied the makeup, the door opened a bit and a head poked in.

         “How are you ladies doing?” the young man asked.

         “Perfectly fine,” Elisabeth answered, cheerfully.

         “It was fine until you showed up,” Hiro responded, monotone.

         The young man chuckled.

         “Very well, I’ll see you ladies later.”

         He closed the door softly behind him and left the room to prepare himself for the evening.

         Hiro glanced back at herself in the mirror and grimaced, her lips twisted as though she tasted something sour and her eyes squinted to scrutinize at herself.

         “Oh! It is not that bad!” Elisabeth reprimanded her, putting down the makeup kit.

         “Fine, you’re right!” Hiro consented, looking away and pouting.

         “I’m certain that when he sees you, he’ll become speechless!” Elisabeth commented, untying Hiro’s hair and combing through it to free it from knots and tangles.

         “You’re joking!” Hiro groaned in disgust. “There’s no way that would happen.”

         “Have you seen the way he looks at you?”

         “No thanks, I don’t think I want to know,” she replied, putting her arms up onto the table and placing her chin into her cupped hands.

         “The poor guy,” Elisabeth lamented in a good-naturedly way.

         Hiro remained silent as Elisabeth took out the blow dryer to dry up her hair. She combed through the dry hair and began her work, sweeping Hiro’s hair to one side and pinning it up in a series of swirls so that it fell down to her shoulders like a waterfall. The crystal pins glistened and sparkled as Hiro turned her head this way and that to examine herself.

         “Well? What do you think?” Elisabeth asked, holding her breath in anticipation.

         “I like it,” Hiro answered, smirking. “The bangs keep falling forward in front of my face, but I think I’ll manage.”

         “I couldn’t find the last pin,” Elisabeth pursed her lips as she looked at Hiro in the mirror. “This’ll have to do until I find something to hold your bangs up. Let’s get your dress on.”

         Hiro stood up and followed Elisabeth into the bedroom where the dress lay neatly at the end of her bed. Together they stared at it, mesmerized. It was a strapless dark, navy blue gown that was floor length. Diamond-like beads lined the left side of the chest and curved to the right side of the dress’s hem as it trailed down the gown. Hiro touched the material with her hands and complemented Elisabeth for her handiwork.

         “Well, go on,” Elisabeth prompted. “Put it on.”

         Hiro nodded her head and dropped the towel to the floor. While Elisabeth held the gown up, she stepped under the dress and held up her hands for the gown to go through.

         As Hiro held it up, Elisabeth zipped up the back for her.

         “There we go,” Elisabeth said, stepping back to look at Hiro.

         Hiro turned side to side to look at herself in the full length mirror.

         “Thank you Elisabeth, it’s beautiful!”

         “You don’t sound so enthusiastic.”

         “It’s a dress,” Hiro replied, pouting her lips. “But it’s very beautiful, so I’ll overlook it.”

         Elisabeth giggled and was about to speak when the door opened.

         “Are you ladies ready?” the young man asked, peeking his head into the room.

         “Just about,” Elisabeth answered. “I’ll be back in a bit Hiro, I need to look for that last hair pin of yours.”

         As she left the room, she stopped near the young man and whispered, “Don’t you dare try something with her.”

         “She’s my fiancée,” he answered, tilting his head in innocence.

         She punched him lightly in the arm and closed the door behind her as she left.

         Hiro backed away from him and sat down at the dressing table. She looked at the things on the table and tried to preoccupy herself as she felt his presence loom near.

         “You look beautiful,” he said, picking up a strand of her hair and moving it to her shoulder.

         She stiffened and looked away from him, his form seen in the corner of her eyes. He looked at her for a bit and finally decided to turn the entire chair towards him. Hiro shrank back in her chair in fear as he placed his hands on either side of her and leaned in close.

         “Why won’t you look at me?”

         Hiro started in surprise and looked up at his face. They stared at each other for a while until the young man looked away first. He knelt down before her so that they were eye level and pulled out a box from within his tailored coat. He held it before her and waited for her to respond.

         “What is this?” she asked, looking at it as though it was an explosive device.

         “For you, open it,” he answered, holding it closer to her.

         Meekly and hesitantly, she opened the box. Inside were diamond stranded earrings and a diamond necklace, the pendant glowing in the light of the room.

         Surprised, Hiro stammered, “I-it’s beautiful.”

         The young man smiled and asked, “Would you like for me to put it on for you?”

         Grudgingly, Hiro answered, “Thank you.”

         The young man turned the chair back around and removed the earrings from its case. As he placed the earrings on her, Hiro shivered every time his hands touched her ear. She clenched her hands into a fist and tried to stop shaking as her heart began to beat rapidly.

         He took the necklace out and laid it across her neck, clasping the ends behind her neck. Placing his hands on the back of her chair, he bent towards her and looked at her face from the side.

         “Do you like it?”

         “I,” she paused. “Sadly, I must admit it is very beautifully.”

         “I’m glad you like it.”

         “How much was it?”

         “You don’t need to worry about,” he answered, backing away from her and standing up.

         Hiro turned to him and frowned.

         “What do you mean? Tell me or I’ll take these off!” she threatened, raising her hands to clutch at the necklace.

         He looked at her calmly and said nothing for a bit. He walked over to the bed and sat down, facing her.

         “Three million stackrem,” he told her, looking her square in the eye.

         “Thr-three million?!” Hiro shouted in disbelief, standing up and turning to look at him.

         She stepped toward the bed and pointed to the necklace.

         “Take this off immediately. I don’t want to wear it!”

         The young man smiled at her and said, “It’s fine, think of it as an engagement gift.”

         “No, I’m not getting married to you,” she snapped.

         As she was yelling at him, her bangs kept sliding heedlessly into the front of her face. Every time it fell before her face, she brushed it back in annoyance. As she continued to bash at him, the young man stood up and reached into his pocket, pulling out a bright sapphire studded hair pin.

         In amidst her ranting about wasting money, Hiro stopped short when the young man reached for her bangs and clipped it up to the side of her head.

         “What are you doing,” she asked, fear creeping into her voice.

         “Your bangs were annoying you, so I clipped it up for you,” he replied, his hand caressing her cheek.

         Petrified, she stood there unmoving as he leant in close to her. Her eyes opened wide as his lips brushed against hers.

         “I found the clip,” Elisabeth called out merrily as she opened the door, waving and brandishing her arm triumphantly with the clip held tightly between her fingers.

         Hiro felt the young man stiffen but straighten up to his full height. Elisabeth lowered her arm and looked at the two of them, her lips pressed together and her eyes darting between the two of them.

         “I’m interrupting something,” she muttered, more to herself than to anyone.

         The young man tilted his head back and sighed. “Let’s get going to the party.”

         He bent close to Hiro, who still stood there frozen in place, and kissed her cheek. He left the room and stood to the side, waiting for the two girls to finish up. As he waited, he touched his lips with his fingertips and slowly clenched his fingers into a fist, turning his head away from the door. He felt his cheeks heat up.

         Elisabeth rushed to Hiro’s side and asked, “Are you alright?”

         Hiro felt her legs buckle and fell to the floor, her dress ballooning out beside her. She raised her hands to the lips and blushed a deep red.

         Elisabeth remained silent, but understood what had happened. She moved to clip up Hiro’s bangs, but saw that they had been clipped already. Elisabeth wrapped her arms around Hiro and hugged her tightly. Hiro’s breath was ragged but she slowly calmed down at Elisabeth’s touch.

         “Are we going to be late?” Hiro asked, just for the sake of breaking the silence.

         “You’ll never be late,” Elisabeth reassured.

         Hiro smiled and took in a shaky breath.

         “Are you really alright?”

         “I’m fine. The next time he tries something, I’ll give him a good slap in the face.”

         Elisabeth laughed and stood to help Hiro up. As the girls readjust their hair and dress, a butler stepped into the room to announce that the party was started. The girls thanked him and followed him out of the room. As they walked, they ignored the young man as he silently fell into place behind them. Linked arm to arm, the girls made their way to the large dining hall where all the guests were idly chatting.

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